Ukrainian Business Owners Hold Mass Protest Against New Tax

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Thousands of entrepreneurs gathered in Kyiv to protest the new tax law, passed last week by the Ukrainian parliament. Protesters are calling on the president to stop the law that is expected to affect small and medium businesses the most. More from our Kyiv correspondent.

Thousands of small business owners from around Ukraine are gathering in Kyiv's Independence Square, since Monday. They're demanding the president to veto the tax law passed by parliament last week.

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Thousands of entrepreneurs are already gathering here. But according to organizers, on the outskirts of Kyiv police have stopped around 130-thousand more from reaching the Square.

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[Alexander Danyluk, Representative of Strike Committee]:
"The position of the business community is resolute—we will not let them (the government) enforce this tax law and will not pay those taxes."

The new law is increasing a single tax rate for small businesses by many times and is classifying fewer business activities under the simplified taxation system.

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And the powers of tax administration have been widened, allowing personal property to be seized for up to 3 days without a court order. It will also allow random audits to be made at any time.

At the same time, for big businesses the new law provides significant benefits and tax cuts.

[Michael Volintsets, Head of Confederation of Trade Unions]:
"The army of protesters—the entrepreneurs of small and medium businesses—will tomorrow, join the ranks of the unemployed. Their current employees will also then be unemployed."

However, the Government maintains that the new tax law improves the lives of Ukrainians because the profits of entrepreneurs will be more transparent, and the country will be more favorable to investors.

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Rally participants say if the president doesn't veto the new law, they will continue the strike indefinitely.

NTD News, Kyiv, Ukraine.

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